Jeter sloppy in field as return looms

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Based on his play at shortstop on Wednesday night, Derek Jeter didn't look like a guy who was ready to return to the major leagues.

The Yankee captain looked shaky at short in his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Scranton, mishandling several of his seven chances in the field.

He made an error on a throw to first in the fifth, bobbled a grounder on a blown force play at second in the third, and failed to get a lead runner at third base on another third-inning grounder.

Afterward, Jeter shrugged off his fielding struggles as just another step in the rehabilitation process.

"I feel good," Jeter said after playing seven innings in the RailRiders' 5-1 loss to Rochester. "There were a lot of different situations that happened, but everything was good."

Jeter will likely play another rehab game on Thursday night with Triple-A Scranton before being reassessed. Neither Joe Girardi nor Brian Cashman would confirm a YES Network report that the Yankees plan to call Jeter up on Friday.

"As I've said, we evaluate it every day," Girardi said after the Yankees' 8-1 win over Kansas City. "Let's just see where he's at."

Said Jeter: "It's not up to me but I'm excited to get the opportunity to get back as soon as I can."

Jeter felt that his timing was a bit off in the field Wednesday and said that playing with some unfamiliar faces in the infield may have contributed to his struggles. But he was pleased to encounter different scenarios in the field -- four of his throws were to first, two to second and one to third.

"It was good to do an array of things," said Jeter, who also made a strong play on the run on a slow grounder to end the fourth.

The 39-year-old broke his ankle on Oct. 13 and had surgery to repair it. He played five spring training games, but a new break was discovered April 18. He has not played in a regular-season game this year.

To get ready for his return to the Bronx, Jeter has played in four rehab games with Triple-A Scranton. He has played three games at shortstop. Thursday is expected to be his first opportunity to play consecutive games in the field, something Girardi and Cashman both said they were eager to see.

"I don't view it as a hurdle," said Jeter, who was watched by Yankee adviser Gene (Stick) Michael on Wednesday.

The 13-time All-Star seems to be getting his timing together at the plate, which is expected after such a long layoff.

He is 1-for-9 in four games after going 0-for-3 with a strikeout on Wednesday. One positive for Jeter on offense? He has four walks, which means he's been able to see plenty of pitches.

"I feel fine," Jeter said. "I'm sure I'll continue to feel better as long as I'm playing."